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Allison Martin - Preemie Child Member

Our son Alex, was born 1 pound 2 ounces in 1986, at 26 weeks gestation age. In addition to being premature, Alex had UGR (uterine growth retardation). He is now thirteen years old and in 7th grade.

Alex in the NICU holding my finger.For weeks following his birth, we were told to prepare for his funeral. Alex had NEC in his first week of life. He was too fragile for an operation and we were told his recovery was miraculous. Alex received IV's for most of the time, till moving to tube feeding. He was put on the respirator right away and stayed there for 90 days. We weren't allowed to hold him for two months, except for the times when we all thought he was dying. More than once, he was given more than 100% life support as we sat by his side. When he came home at 4 months of age, he remained on oxygen until he was a year old. Just before his first birthday, we discovered that he had a diaphramatic hernia (his intestines had broken through his diaphram into his chest). He recieved an emergency operation and rolled over for the first time soon after.

There are many more stories to tell about Alex's first years. We experienced just about every problem you can in the NICU and thereafter. If you saw Alex today, you would have a hard time believing he had such a precarious beginning. He has a wonderful sense of humor, a love of reading, and can be quite caring. However, despite outward appearances Alex was severely impacted by this experience and we realize now that he is likely to be unable to live independently.

Alex is an "alphabet kid" - ADHD, LD, mild CP, processing problems, social skills delays, developmental delays, BPD (followed by chronic asthma which is currently in remission), gastrointestinal reflux, allergies, intestinal problems, and ROP. A year ago he was diagnosed as having Aspergers Syndrome - a variant of high functioning autism. In sum, his impacts span the gamut of prematurity effects. We are pleased that many of Alex's physical problems have improved greatly over the past couple of years. We are seeing tremendous progress now as he grows to maturity. He is a great joy to our family and we are so very grateful to have him with us.

We have two more children, two younger sisters adopted from Asia. They are energetic and loving nine and four year olds. Our home and our hearts are full.

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